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My computer won't acquire an IP address. How to fix it?

Problem: Although your computer is physically connected to the network using a network cable, it won't get an IP address and can't acquire one.

This problem could also happen with those computers that are using wireless connections. Let us first look at some of the factors outside your computer that could be causing these. When you are sure that these are not the problem causing factors in your case, we'll look at how to troubleshoot this problem.

  • You moved your computer or laptop from one network to another causing your computer to try and contact the earlier server that assigned it the old IP address and in the process it can not release the old IP to get a new one. Make sure you release the IP first and then renew it to get a new IP address. See steps to release and renew IP address.
  • The DHCP server is unavailable or not reachable. The server that will assign an IP address to your computer is not reachable or is down. This server could be your broadband router if you are at home. Make sure that your router is on or your server is pingable (from another computer if you have one to test) to get an IP address for your computer.
  • Your wireless router is not reachable or is down. In case you use a wireless router, make sure that the signal strength is good, otherwise you might have trouble in getting your IP renewed. You can also try to power cycle your wireless router to clear its memory and this step works most of the time.
  • Your network cable might not be plugged in properly. Network cable, when not plugged in proprely, can prevent your computer from connecting to the server on your home or office network to renew the IP address and connect

If the above steps did not fix the problem, we have two steps to try that could solve the problem. First, we'll try to repair the network connection using the built-in feature of Windows. To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Click the Start menu button on the Windows taskbar and goto 'control panel'.
  2. In the control panel, double click on 'Network Connections'. This will open a window that will show all the network connections created on your computer.
  3. In the network connections window, right click on the network connection that you want to fix and click 'repair' (see the screenshot on right). A small window will pop-up and show you various repair steps it will perform. Once it's done, it will show you that the connection has been repaired and if any errors were found, those will be shown as well.

Second step would be to use a free utility called NetShell from Microsoft that will for sure repair and restore your network settings.